Thanksgiving Leftovers: Cranberry Ice Cream

I know all 65 of my readers have been anxiously awaiting this post after reading my Thanksgiving special.  Sorry for the delay!  Unfortunately, this post may be a little untimely as last night was probably the last night to safely eat your Thanksgiving leftovers (you can maybe take a risk and stretch it into today…).  Luckily, cranberry sauce is super easy to make (or you can always bookmark this site and save it for next year).

I follow several other cooking blogs and a few of them featured cranberry ice cream recently.  I had never had cranberry ice cream until now, but decided that it was a genius idea for using leftover cranberry sauce.  I was all about repurposing this weekend because what better way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers then to make MORE food!!!  (see pictures below of turkey soup and fried mashed potatoes).  Luckily, I have amazing friends who I coerced to come over and eat repurposed leftovers with me :)

The cranberry ice cream turned out to be delicious!  Obviously I started with a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream base and then just added my leftovers!  The milk and cream really help to mellow out some of the tartness of the cranberries to make this a sweet and festive ice cream.  You can use any cranberry sauce recipe but I have provided my orange cranberry sauce recipe below.  This would pair well with apple or pear pie, white chocolate bread pudding or just on its own, enjoy!

Cranberry Ice Cream

1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. cream cheese, softened
2 cups milk
1 Tbs and 1 tsp cornstarch
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1/2 cup cranberry sauce (see recipe below)

In a large bowl, whisk together cream cheese and salt, set aside.

In a bowl, stir together 1/4 cup milk and the cornstarch; set slurry aside.

In a 4-qt. saucepan, whisk together remaining milk and the cream, sugar, and corn syrup.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 minutes; stir in milk-cornstarch slurry. Return to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Whisk milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.  Next, mix in cranberry sauce.  Mixture may have some lumps from the cranberries. Pour mixture into a plastic bag; seal, and submerge in a bowl of ice water until chilled, about 30 min.

Pour mixture into an ice cream maker; process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Place into a storage container and freeze at least 1 hour before eating.

Orange Cranberry Sauce

1 12 o bag of fresh cranberries
zest and juice of 1 orange
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
~~~~~
Bring all ingredients to a boil over medium heat in a medium sized pot.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the cranberries have broken down.  You may want to add a little water to thin the mixture out.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, then chill for at least an hour in the refrigerator before serving (or using for ice cream).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone had an amazing dinner surrounded by friends and family like I did.  Thanksgiving (after Passover) is obviously one of my favorite holidays.  This year I cooked dinner for my parents and several co-workers that couldn’t make it home for the holiday.

This was a monumental year because I decided to stray from my traditional stuffed turkey breast and go all in with a 16 lb bird!  I purchased a free range fresh turkey from Misty Knoll Farms via Formaggio Kitchen and changed my turkey recipe about 5 times before I finally settled on my original recipe for roasted turkey by Ina Garten.  Ina has never steered me wrong so far so I figured her recipe would be a safe bet…especially with a stick of herb butter smeared under the skin followed by more brushed over the whole bird.  After 3 1/2 hours, my turkey was a perfect golden brown with crispy skin and tender, juicy turkey meat.

My carving skills may need some work though…

Read below for more Thanksgiving dishes and recipes (some of which you may recognize from last year or other blog posts).

The night started with some light appetizers: deviled eggs and fig and blue cheese savouries

Obviously no Thanksgiving would be complete without biscuits, especially these sage biscuits from Joanne Chang.  I topped mine with honey butter (instead of parsley butter) and served with more warm honey butter on the side (just add a Tbs or so of honey and a pinch of salt to a stick of room temperature butter and mix until combined).

I needed a cold dish for the brussel sprouts since I was tight on oven space so I turned to my favorite farm salad from Sweet Cheeks.

The meal was rounded off with stuffing, sweet corn pudding, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a spicy carrot salad.

And finally…

Dessert!!!  I possibly went a little overboard with 3 desserts: mini apple crisp pies, black bottom peanut butter mousse pie, and pumpkin cheesecake squares (not pictured).

I hope everyone had a great holiday!  Look for my next blog post on a creative way to use some Thanksgiving leftovers!

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Crumb Bars

It’s pumpkin season!  I’m sorry, I can’t help myself, when fall comes around I just want to go crazy with making everything pumpkin!

I made these delicious bars a few weeks ago (along with some butternut squash gnocchi that were not quite blog-worthy) and wanted to post them in time for Thanksgiving.  There are super easy and quick to make and so good that I’ve actually made them twice in the past month!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Crumb Bars

(from Cooking Classy)

For the Oatmeal Crumb:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ cups quick oats
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Pumpkin Pie Filling:
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups canned pumpkin
⅓ cup evaporated milk (I’ve substituted cream or whole milk)

DIRECTIONS:

Make the Oatmeal Crumb: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and adjust oven racks to center and upper-middle positions. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing excess to hang over the sides; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda and salt to combine. Add both the granulated sugar and brown sugar and mix until no clumps remain. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract, then stir with a fork until the mixture is evenly moistened. Press half of the mixture into the prepared pan and bake on the center rack for 15 minutes.

Make the Pumpkin Pie Filling: Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Finally, whisk in the pumpkin, and then the evaporated milk until the mixture is smooth and thoroughly combined.

When the crust has finished baking, pour the pumpkin pie filling over the bottom crust and return it to the center rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven, pinch the remaining oatmeal crumb mixture into small pieces and sprinkle over the top of the pumpkin pie filling. Return the pan to the oven, placing it on the upper-middle rack, and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until it is golden on top and the center only jiggles slightly.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature, at least 1 to 2 hours. Then, transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. Cut into squares and serve. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

A Spoonful of Lovin’ at Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ Ultimate Tailgate Fundraiser

As you may remember, several weeks ago I took 2 photography classes at the Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE).  After the intermediate photography class with Chris Padgett, he mentioned that he may need an assistant to help with some food photography at an upcoming event.  Lucky for me, his assistant fell ill last minute and he needed a “pinch photographer”.  After learning about this amazing event, I was more than happy to fill in as amateur food photographer for the night!

IMG_4956
Ashley Stanley, Founder and Executive Director of Lovin’ Spoonfuls

Lovin’ Spoonfuls is non-profit organization founded in 2010 by Ashley Stanley to facilitate the rescue and redistribution of healthy, fresh food that would otherwise be discarded.  Lovin’ Spoonfuls works with many local grocery stores, produce wholesalers, farms and farmers markets to help provide hunger relief in the  Greater Boston area.  They have rescued over 2 million pounds of food to date!

The culinary board includes many big names from the Boston food scene such as Joanne Chang (Flour, Myers & Chang), her husband Chris Meyers (Myers & Chang), Michael Scelfo (Alden and Harlow) and Jamie Bissonnette (Toro and Coppa) amongst others.  This was the 4th year of their large fundraising event, aptly named “The Ultimate Tailgate”, consisting of multiple auctions, raffles, a DJ and delicious food from about 20 Boston area restaurants.

The event was held outside in a large, heated tent at Sam’s at Louis with a gorgeous view of the waterfront.

As you can imagine, I was in foodie heaven!  Not only did I get to sample appetizers from some of my favorite restaurants, but I also had the opportunity to meet many of the chefs and unabashedly take photos because it was my “job”…and all for a good cause!  Below are many of the food offerings from the night.

Tiffani Faison’s (Sweet Cheeks) shrimp boil was my favorite dish of the night.

Not only do I love shrimp (and corn, potatoes, sausage and butter) but the display was so fun and colorful to photograph…not mention that Tiffani is super nice and makes incredible biscuits!

The most interesting dish award went to Mei Mei for their Kung Pao Curry Frito Pie.  Warning: fritos and any food that accompanies them may be highly addicting!

The beet tartare pictured above from Fairsted Kitchen was a play on deviled eggs.  The simple combination of deviled eggs and sweet roasted beets was delicious and had me coming back for seconds!  I’m going to have to figure how to make these- they would be an excellent appetizer at a holiday party.

In between preparing food, socializing and eating, the chefs also did a little goofing around!

Beverages included beer by Peak Organic Brewing Company, wine by distributor M.S. Walker, as well as signature cocktails from Sam’s.

One of the more creative dishes was the chorizo, potato and squid quesadilla from relative newcomer on the Boston dining scene, La Brasa.

At one point during the night I was surrounded by the intoxicating aroma of fried chicken, only to find myself next to these mouthwatering duck drummettes with  red plum balsamic glaze from Sam’s at Louis.  If I hadn’t been so full by this point (it’s easier to eat and photograph at the same time than you think) I would have taken at least seconds…and maybe even thirds.

Bergamot served a deliciously tender brisket over a bright and acidic red cabbage slaw.

Nebo was so popular with their Italian sausage, rustic broccoli rage-pine nut pesto and provolone sandwich that they ran out of sausage by the end of the night!

Merrill & Co. served up large meatballs slathered in a robust tomato sauce and topped with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.

And finally, no food event with Joanne Chang would be complete without dessert!

I’m not about to quit my day job but it was pretty fun being a photographer for the night!  (Hopefully I get “hired” for another gig soon!)

If you would like to learn more about Lovin’ Spoonfuls or donate to this wonderful cause, please click here.

Mini Apple Crisp Pies

 

Sometimes in life we are forced to make hard decisions… like should I make one large apple pie or individual mini apple pies?  Should I add a scoop (or 2) of ice cream to said pie/mini pies? (Should I operate on this patient or just observe him/her?)  Luckily, I have some amazing friends who help me make these tough decisions (regarding the pie, not operating) and even volunteer to taste test!  So recently when faced with this overwhelming dilemna, individual mini pies won out!

What’s great about mini pies is that they substantially increase the crust to filling ratio.  I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of pie is usually the crust (and depending on the type of pie, the crumble topping, or whipped cream, or chocolate, or…you get the point: pie is just kinda awesome).

These mini pies take things a step futher by adding a crisp topping and finally drizzling with icing.  For those who cannot decide between eating apple pie and apple crisp, this is your answer.  I definitely plan to keep this recipe in my arsenal for future fruit pies (there are endless possibilities with just minor changes to the recipe).  Enjoy!

Mini Apple Crisp Pies

(males about 18, recipe adapted from Girl versus Dough)

For the crust:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
½ cup ice-cold water

For the crisp topping:
¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
6 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt
4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

For the apple filling:
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Pinch nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
1½ lbs sweet-tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

For the maple icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

To make the pie dough: Combine flours, sugar and salt in a food processor . Add butter cubes and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Pour ice-cold water into mixture in bowl; pulse until a rough dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a countertop and knead a few times until dough comes together; divide in half and shape each half into a ball. Flatten each ball into a 1-inch thick disc. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill in fridge 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the crisp topping: In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Cut in butter with fingers and mix until well combined. Alternatively, you can do this in a food processor by pulsing all the ingredients until combined.  Chill mixture until pie dough is fully chilled and ready to bake.

To make the apple filling: In a large bowl, combine sugars, flour, nutmeg and lemon juice. Add apple slices and toss until well combined.

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

When pie dough is fully chilled, sprinkle a countertop generously with flour, then roll out each pie dough disc to a rough ⅛-inch thickness. Use a 4-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter to cut out dough rounds; re-roll scraps one time to cut out more rounds (you should end up with about 18 rounds).

Press each round into the bottom and sides of an ungreased muffin cup.

Divide apple filling among muffin cups (the filling will be a bit mounded, but it’ll bake down). Sprinkle tops evenly with oatmeal cookie topping.

Bake 40 minutes until topping is golden brown and pie crust is baked through.

Cool mini pies in muffin cups 30 minutes, then use a butter knife or spatula to carefully transfer pies to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Combine maple syrup and powdered sugar in a small pot over medium/low heat and stir until sugar combined and disolved.  Drizzle icing immediately over fully cooled pies.

Farmer’s Market Photography Class

Apparently, most people (aka people with 9-5ish type jobs) have hobbies…or things they are interested in that have nothing to do with their career!  After working 80+ hours/week for the past 3 years, this concept, understandably, is a little foreign to me.  Yes, I do enjoy cooking, baking and blogging. Some might consider these “hobbies,” but I never quite had the time (or money) to explore this much outside the comfort of my own home.  In fact, my lack of time for hobbies/a social life got a little awkward when I went on a few first dates. The conversation often went something like this:

Boy: “So what do you do for fun?”
Me: “Well I’m pretty busy with work and saving lives, but I like to cook and bake when I can and I also have a baking blog.”
Boy: “Oh cool, what else do you do?”
Me: “Well….I guess I go to the gym occasionally?”
Boy: “What else?”
Me: “Ummmmm, I sleep every once in a while…”
Boy: “But you must have other things you like to do outside of work?  Hiking? Skiing? Going to concerts? You should come with me to this workout group that meets every morning at 6AM…maybe on slow day like a Friday?”
Me:  “Beep, beep, beep” (fakes “stat” page, stage exit right)

In an effort to have something to answer to first date questions like this…and to make the most of my time off (I mean research) I’ve been trying to develop some hobbies, mainly photography.  As you have seen on my blog (hopefully), I’ve had a mildly successful introductory foray into photography through photographing food porn for my blog.  However, I wanted to a) learn how to use the many functions on my DSLR camera and b) expand my subject matter a bit.  So this past weekend I took two photography classes at the Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE):

Intermediate Photography with Chris Padgett

and

Farmer’s Market Photography with Brian Samuels

The first class was a technical class on how to use your camera and get the most out of all of its functions.  I definitely learned a few key things that will help my photography going forward.  In the second class, I got to apply what I learned with Chris, by going on a field trip of sorts with Brian and a group of eager new photographers to the SOWA market in the South End.  The market, bustling with food and fresh produce vendors, consumers, pets, arts and crafts and antiques, was the perfect place to work on composition and creativity.  It was a gorgeous day and if you’re going to be that sketchy person with a camera peeping out of the bushes (or tomatoes, gourds or flowers), it’s best to have a group with you!

Below are some of my favorites from the day.

Gorgeous purple radishes at a local farm vendor.

 

Some more local produce.  It’s fun to experiment with post-production editing.  I’ve been using the snapseed app on my iphone for much of my editing (I can instantly send photos from my camera to my iphone via wifi).  Color splash is another fun app that allows you to focus on one (or two) colorful objects to really highlight it, like the carrots above.

The market is also full of interesting people to (stealthfully) photograph.

Don’t forget to stop by Union Square Donuts for delicious fresh donuts in a variety of flavors (like brown butter hazelnut pictured above).  The wait in line is worth it!

There are a variety of non-produce items sold as well.

And finally, some more beautiful produce!

Apple Walnut Muffins

So I may have complained about the unseasonably warm weather last weekend a little too soon…in my defense my building had already turned on the heat in 80 degree weather!  Regardless, this week turned cold and rainy bringing with it a craving for warm and comforting fall flavors…and perhaps a touch of early seasonal depression.

Luckily, I still had a lot of apples left from a recent apple picking trip to Russell Orchards that were begging to be baked into a delicious new treat.

Back in college I created (and perfected) my first ever recipe, Apple Cinnamon Chip Bread (or muffins).   Since my local Whole (Paycheck) Foods doesn’t sell Hershey’s cinnamon chips, I decided to modify it a bit by using walnuts for a contrasting texture element and topping with a maple glaze and more walnuts.  Warning: your kitchen will smell like an apple pie and you’ll immediately want to eat all the muffins when they come out of the oven!

The apples, walnuts and cinnamon are almost reminiscent of chariest (a traditional apple, walnut and wine mixture served at Passover to remind us of our ancestors) minus the sickeningly sweet Manischevitz wine.  The maple glaze takes it a step further by adding an extra touch of New England fall flavor before being topped with more toasted walnuts.

You may be asking, do I need to toast my walnuts?  Yes, the answer is yes.  ALWAYS toast your nuts (sorry just had to say that).  Toasting any nut brings out it’s flavor and gives it more texture which is ideal for baking.  Click here for several methods that can be used.  Just be careful not to let them burn!  (No one likes burnt nuts…too far?)

(Here is a brief guide to help choose the best apples for baking.)

Apple Walnut Muffins

(makes 12 muffins)

4 Tbs butter, melted
3/8 cup white sugar
3/8 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup peeled and chopped apple
1/2 cup pureed apple or unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup toasted walnuts plus another 1/2 cup toasted walnuts for the glaze

Maple Glaze
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbs butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners and spray with non-stick spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Mix until mixture is smooth. Beat in egg. Stir in chopped apples and pureed apples (or apple sauce) until well mixed.

In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually incorporate into the apple mixture. Stir in 1/2 cup walnuts.

Divide batter evenly into the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out cleanly. Let cool.

Make the maple glaze by heating all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and whisking until the powdered sugar is dissolved.  Drizzle immediately over muffin tops and top with toasted nuts.  The glaze hardens quickly so make sure to top with walnuts immediately or else the glaze will harden and the walnuts will not stick.  Enjoy!